Marriage Crisis Among Gambians In West: Love Becomes Casualty

broken heart
Love is the loser among diasporan Gambians

By Suntou Touray (Bolonba)

The reasons and motivations for divorces are primarily material, not violence or mistreatment as projected to the western social services. Men in the Gambia should start asking in-laws whether they’re giving daughters in marriage as we know it or for hustle. Since the same parents place more emphasis on the daughter acting as their breadwinner rather than focus on her marriage’.

Domineering women in marital homes is nothing new. If the usual female sex appeal fails to control the husband’s masculinity, the witch doctor’s marabout incantations and liquid mix have become viable options. These are usually slowly contaminated in foods and drinks served to unsuspecting husbands. If that fails still to curb a man’s role as head of the house or become sub-servant to the wife, then divorce and the longing for independence become the woman’s soul desire. Tune in to radio today for my thought provoking analysis of the steps our sisters are taking to divorce men in droves.

As breadwinners, women have been negatively impacting on matrimony in U.S and Europe. In Europe, the social and state benefits for children are capitalised upon as ways to remit to parents and extended families in Africa, leaving the husband to foot the bills of the household expenses. Women insist on being in control of social benefits; they tend to misuse the state help in frivolous spending and denying their own children a comfortable upkeep.

Hence, the reasons and motivations for divorces are primarily material, not violence or mistreatment as projected to the western social services. Women who intend to break away from a man who brought them to Europe and America cleverly create an environment devoid of any semblance to the social and cultural background of their country of origin. The tense atmosphere that builds up cause negative energy there, forcing couple to live separate lives in a family home. After some time, there is bound to be bad temperament and a conflict. The primary aim for women is getting control of the children, and social income benefit that comes with it.

Men who snoop on their ex-wife’s cite hearing telephone conversations where mother-in-laws playing curial roles in ending a once happy marriage. The daughters insinuate that, without divorce they cannot cater for their extended family welfares adequately. The plot thickens with lying to European social service of having a violent husband and imploring on the European culture to seek for protection away from a man who picks her from obscurity to the affluence of Europe and America, casting him as a violent beast. These circle and narrative is continuing in many African homes in Europe. Poverty and greed the backdrop.

The rise in divorce among Gambian couples in the west in becoming a sad phenomenon. The first and most populous Gambian diasporan community in Europe is said to be France. The French Capital Paris has a significant proportion of Gambians, some in their retired age of sixty 66 to 70 years. Sadly, a considerable number of these men live in homes locally referred to as ‘fuwaye’ or in very tall old cement tower buildings named ‘batiman’.

These divorced old men are kicked out by their wife’s due to many factors. Top of them is the misunderstanding of the ‘freedom in the west’. Since the men who travelled to France in the 1960’s and 70’s are mostly uneducated in the western sense, their spouses too are uneducated likewise. Hence, the sudden improvement in status and independent earnings somehow compel some of these women to put an unflinching challenge to the husbands. “Allow me to do what I want or you move out”.

Traditions move with people wherever they go. These men attempt at first to appease, however, in many cases, it was all short lived. The women wanted a whole scale change, a change of man more to say.

They created such an environment, the men feel like pussycats in their own matrimonial homes. Slowly and sadly, they started camping among fellow men in such predicament, in the ‘Fuwayees’ single male houses, usually shared. The divorced or separated wife’s with new found freedom, journey to Gambian for younger men. However, the men too, aiming not to be undo, also travel to Gambia for younger brides. The circle continues. France set the bench marks for women to see divorce not as a taboo, but a route to freedom, doing all they want, and forming women groups, staking monthly contribution, ‘Tek’ handing that to one woman every month rotationally. They became financially independent, and formidable breadwinners to poor extended family back in the Gambia.

The causality happens to be love, the children and social cohesion. These social breakdowns are now the main cause of Gambian children into crimes and feeling worthless abroad. Where single motherhood is celebrated, young boys turn to gangs and bad friends for male role models.

Next we will look at divorce cases in Sweden, Norway, U.S and England.



  1. Thank you for writing this. I am a victim of what you said. I am up again. I was arrested 3 times on crimes i am innocent of, finally the women left without my knowledge. I am battling to have access to my children. Not many men will talk about this. Thank you.

  2. A great piece brother. But sadly, men are usually unaware that they are clipped by the wrapper of their wife. The only time brothers woke up is when the once lovely darling stood up to them and want everything caput.

  3. Dida Halake

    Brilliant piece , Bolonba! The solution is simple: marry them at home, leave them at home … and bring your kids for a good education to the UK!!

  4. Dida Halake

    To be fair though, Bolonba, it is not just a Gambian issue. It is a whole African Diaspora issue (except for some strange reason my Somali friends who seem to really stick together as extended families even here in London).

    This morning I had a meeting with an Ethiopian who was determined to start court proceedings against the police – when his estranged Ethiopian wife and her two sisters lied to the police that he wanted to kill her and got him arrested. The man had part-time care of their two children and his argument is that she lied against him because she wanted sole care of the kids to ensure she got their council house and the state benefits. I persuaded him that the lying wife and sisters (he has since tape-recorded the sisters when they came to apologise to him as I advised him) HAVE TOTAL IMMUNITY AGAINST BEING SUED AS FAR AS THE LIE TO THE POLICE IS CONCERNED – and as long as the police have reasonable suspicions (three witnesses) they can’t be sued for wrongful arrest. Of course this is similar to what happened to Gambian SEY, who was strangled and killed by the Met Police back in 1996 when his Gambian wife called the police to their house. I remember, also in 1996, delivering documents to the President’s Office asking that Gambian women be protected in UK – after a West Indian husband killed his Gambian wife (I think called Maimuna from Bakoteh). When I gave a copy of the same documents to my pal Peter Singhateh at the Marina Drive Army HQ, Peter said “It is the foreign husbands who need protecting”!!! I was a bit shocked and thought Peter was rather cynical – but that was because I was new to The Gambia!

    Anyway, to come back to my point, the problem is that of the African Diaspora in the West – not just Gambians.

  5. Phew!

    I think there is some subtle danger in over generalisation of a complicated situation as contained in this piece. The problem of family breakup in the West is much more complicated than is suggested in this write up. I think that it should be recognised that no two households or marriages are identical.

    Of course much of what is described in the piece may be true; but there are some situations where men have been primarily responsible for the phenomenon. For example, it is not uncommon to find Gambian/African men taking to excessive drinking, violence, womanising and drugs; and some even fail in their duties to set right moral standards in the house and are readily prepared to abandon their children because they are angry with their departing spouses. The result, as pointed out in the article, is often irreparable damage to the innocent – children. I think that Gambian men should show maturity and live up to their responsibility no matter what!

  6. Exactly Dida. that’s by far the best solution.Leave them at home period.

  7. edi boy sankadi

    I have only one big solution to this problem, Married them back home and leave them there. If you have some vocation and fare, you can go and be with her there and then come back. I am a victim and I learned in the hardest way; because she end up reporting me to US immigration office that i was practicing polygamy me which is not true. I was unlucky the case against me went dismissed after so many appearance in united state court house facing immigration judge in Chicago, IL. I will never forget or forgive her. Marry them back home and leave them home. That’s the main solution. Some of them are not matrimony duties but rather hustling more than even their husbands who brought them here. Some household, if you want to secure your married, you the husband will take wife role and she takes your role; otherwise the next day, she will start filling government program benefits like housing, food stamp card and etc claiming she is single mother. Some in-laws back home are the main problem .

  8. edi boy sankadi

    I was very lucky the immigration judge in Chicago, IL dismissed my case brought against me by my ex wife allegation me for practicing polygamy which is totally not true at all. Married them there and leave them there. Sometime, people said try and marry some woman you meet here because you don’t expense on her ticket and visa to come here, let me warn my fellow men, that is also a biggest mistake because whenever you trying to talk to her, she will always jump and tell you that you don’t brought here; so you don’t have audacity to tell her nothing because you don’t bring her. So now, let ask ourselves, where is the respect? So please brothers let us married them back home and then leave them there.

  9. Kemo, you are missing the debacle Gambian men are going through. Yes, some men are misbehave, but the general family break is mostly instigated by women. This is a recognised common trend. Dida is right, leave them at in Gambia, and travel every six months.

  10. You can’t argue with people’s personal experiences, but I don’t think this is the whole story….

    Whilst the reasons advanced by the writer may be true for some marriage breakdowns, it may be quite dangerous and inaccurate to conclude that this is true for all or majority of marriages, unless it’s backed by irrefutable data collected through survey of some sort. ..Caution should be exercised here…

    The writer must be commended for raising this issue because it is one that is afflicting many Diaspora communities across Europe and USA. ..Perhaps, exchanging experiences may help us understand the root causes of the issue and better prepare us to deal with…

    Where are the sisters…? Don’t let the men set the agenda and then dominate the discussion…Let’s hear from you too…Together we can deal with these problems better…May be, we can find solutions other than to “leave you at home…”

    • Dida Halake

      Typical PDOIS – avoid the obvious!!! Bax Bro,the only reason why Bolonba did not need to write this piece is because it is so OBVIOUSLY the truth! You know, a bit like saying “The Sunshine Rises in the East each morning”. If you disagree, I can only assume that you married a Toubab Grandma and you are very happy. The rest of us who unwisely married our “African Queens” know what we are talking about!! Still, how else can we get our little African Princess and African Princes?? Have a nice day, Comrade.

  11. Women are not to blame for this materialty and materialism it could be found in every aspect of society. It is a dysfunction that is eating away the very fabric of humanity . The very purpose of religion but is hardly understood, while some content themselves in superstition and mythology there is little spirituality in our contemporary religion. Man hardly understand himself, so instead of blaming this ignorance on one sex I think it fair to put on the shoulder on society and religion.

  12. Dida and Yancho, leaving them behind is (and will be) self-defeating; it may also prove much more damaging.

    It is only proper and fair for the family unit to be together at all times unless there are genuine professional needs for separation which should be temporary. What sort of marriage will it be – where spouses live apart by thousands of miles and only get to see each other once in a while, and any children of the marriage will have to grow up with only one of the parents?

    Indeed during a recent visit to the Gambia, I saw serious family breakups (amidst unprecedented social upheavals) caused by this. Wives left behind got pregnant (some as a result of raped others as a result of lack of self-control) and gave birth to children; some went to the extent of killing the newly born babies in the daft hope of concealing the pregnancy and child birth in the absence of husbands looking for “greener pasture” abroad. I also saw situations where millions of Dalasis worth of investments were deliberately embezzled by wives of those living in the West and remitting their hard-earned funds.

    As to the lies “some women” peddle (against their husbands) in the hope of retaining the children and social security benefits, I would say men should not capitulate. They must pursue the matter through the courts and will be surprised to see how easily those lies crumble in the course of litigation. Above all, whether or not you win, there will be clear records for the children to see when they grow up and decide for themselves who has messed up their lives.

    So the problem needs a much broader and comprehensive approach based on honesty and sincerity between the couple and the respective in-laws some of whom are really God fearing. Sadly there are many people in the world (including the Gambia) who are ostensibly Muslims/Christians but who have no sincerity in their “iman” – faith in the face of worldly materials.

  13. I have seen first hand the disaster of bringing Gambian wives over to Britain. They have the children then take the benefits, then kick the husband out of the house as they can survive without him, and why would they want someone telling them what to do when they have the money to do it without him. The children are then left to roam the streets, not looked after properly and not educated in Islam. The poor husband is left to pick himself up and find other accommodation and sometimes not even allowed to see his children. – As said before marry them in Gambia and leave them there, many do this and are happy.

  14. Pingback: Marriage Crisis Among Gambians In West: Love Becomes Casualty | Gambian Cheaters

  15. long distance relationship are not easy.i know of someone marry them leave them there.he got the shock of his life when he wanted his son to join him and DNA results were done for 20yrs he thought was his son behold no.the ladies get lonely.

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